Is Telstra's NRL Live App Worth The Money?

Earlier this month, Telstra kicked off its NRL Live 2013 app for iOS and Android smartphones, which allows paying subscribers to watch live games via a video streaming service. We take a look at how the service stacks up.

Pricing

The NRL app itself is a free download which includes live scores and stats, match highlights and replay videos, news reports and the 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership draw and ladder. Video subscriptions, which include six live games per week, require an in-app payment, however. You can opt to pay $5.49 for one week, $14.99 for a month or $89.99 for a full season pass. The app can be accessed regardless of which mobile carrier you use.

Here's the full rundown of features for each pass type:

$5.49 weekly pass (iOS only)

$14.99 monthly pass

$89.99 annual pass

All the features of the free NRL Live 2013 Official App All the features of the free NRL Live 2013 Official App All the features of the free NRL Live 2013 Official App
7-day recurring access to all the premium features listed below 31-day recurring access to all the premium features listed below 365-day recurring access to all the premium features listed below
Every NRL game, every week as it’s being broadcast on TV with six games LIVE and two on delay Every NRL game, every week as it’s being broadcast on TV with six games LIVE and two on delay Every NRL game, every week as it’s being broadcast on TV with six games LIVE and two on delay
Exclusive access to LIVE post-game press conferences Exclusive access to LIVE post-game press conferences Exclusive access to LIVE post-game press conferences
Wi-Fi or Mobile connectivity Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity

As you can see, the inbuilt features are identical across the board. The weekly iPhone pass will cost around $140 for a full season, which makes it the least attractive option of the three. The monthly and full season passes work out at around the same price (i.e. -- despite granting '365 days' of access, the NRL season actually only lasts for six months).

Personally, we'd plump for the monthly pass, as this gives you the option of dipping in and out of the season at your leisure -- handy if you know you're going to be on holidays, for example. Even if you end up subscribing each and every month, you'll still be putting down roughly the same amount of cash as if you went for the full season pass. Basically, the only advantage to the latter is that it proves how much of a sporting nut you are.

If you do decide to buy the weekly or monthly pass, you'll need to manually unsubscribe from the service before the next billing cycle. Rather cheekily, the app is set up to auto-renewal itself at the end of each week/month.

Streaming options

The app provides live video streaming of up to six matches per week, plus all games broadcast on free-to-air TV. Special matches, such as the International Anzac Test Match, State of Origin series and the City vs. Country game are also streamed live from the app.

For the Apple version of the app, you will need a device running iOS 5.1 at the least. The Google version requires Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher -- but not all handsets are compatible. To find out if the app supports your Android smartphone, pay a visit to the Google Play Store.

Unfortunately, neither version of the app has been optimised to work with tablet devices -- although if you want a big screen experience, there's nothing stopping you from connecting your phone to your TV via HDMI. The results are passable, according to most user reports, although the resolution obviously pales in comparison to a proper TV broadcast.

Telstra customers do not incur data usage charges for using the app -- unless you are roaming overseas. Other telco customers are advised to stick to a Wi-Fi connection.

Conclusion

The NRL Live 2013 app isn't what we'd call dirt-cheap -- but for die-hard rugby fans, it remains the most affordable way to watch multiple live matches every week. If you mainly subscribe to Foxtel for its NRL coverage, the NRL Live 2013 app presents a significantly cheaper way to get your rugby fix.

The NRL Live 2013 app is available now from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for Android and iOS devices, respectively.

Lifehacker's weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


Comments

    Stop calling it "rugby". It's NRL and nothing to do with rugby.

      What is the R for in NRL?

    I got their AFL Live app at the start of the season for my HTC Desire Z, video didn't ever stream, audio only would work for a few minutes then cut out and need to be re-opened.

    I'm really hoping it improves.

    I purchased a VPN (get one that is US based and you get all 8 games) for $6.00/month and use LiveStream (http://new.livestream.com/nrl/) to stream the games, I got a shitty connection so I just watch in 432p which is fine for me, when I'm watching on my monitor/phone (other video quality are 232p, 432p, 480p & 720p), not bad for $6/month. I only really stream the Thursday & Monday games anyway.

    I do NRL Live application on my phone as it's good to see who's playing & what the kick off times are. Match replays are pretty good as well for when you're bored at work.

    It's also one of the nicest applications to use in terms of user interface imo.

    Last edited 21/03/13 2:00 pm

      @ejparker was thinking about doing this myself; since NRL ditched livesport.tv who last year charged a subscription fee. Any recommendations for a decent VPN provider who'll be fast enough for decent quality video?

        No recommendations on my end, I've only tried one VPN for two weeks now and it's working fine. The one that I use is called PrivateInternetAccess, not sure if I can provide a link so just Google and check it out. You want one that has a few US locations because you'll get all games, some other countries don't get all the games.

        Region: USA
        Broadcaster: Fox Soccer
        TV: 2 per round
        Online: Live-Stream
        Replays: Live-Stream
        Territories: USA
        NOTE: All games are on live stream regardless of being on Fox Soccer

        http://www.nrl.com/AbouttheGame/BroadcastInformation/InternationalBroadcaster/tabid/10443/Default.aspx

        I'm going to buy the yearly package as it's only like $3.30/month which is awesome. Has Windows/Android clients which make it even better.

        Last edited 25/03/13 9:12 am

    I should get this for tonight. Gonna be fkn windy and miserable at AAMI Park tonight.

    Unlike what the report states, you cannot watch the games on the TV using HDMI. The video feed has been cut off

      Hi Milton, I think this may have something to do with certain phone models. Some people report getting no video signal while others have been watching games on their TV via HDMI with no issues. More information can be found here: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2068220

    How do I manually unsubscribe from this app ?

      Hi Tracey,

      To manually unsubscribe from this using itune follow the below steps:

      1. Open iTunes
      2. Select "view my apple id" under the store menu
      3. Enter iTunes details
      4. Select manage subscriptions under settings
      5. Change tick box from auto subscribe

      Hope this helps.

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